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Good Times - The Complete Third Season



DVD Release Date: August 10, 2004 (Columbia Tri-Star Home Entertainment)
color/approx. 604 minutes
MSRP: $29.95
Number of discs: 3
Number of episodes: 24
Languages and subtitles: English, Closed Captioned
Special features: 3 Previews for Columbia Tri-Star Home Entertainment DVD Releases (Classic Comedy TV, The King of Queens, and Original Programming TV)


Good Times was a popular spin-off of the "All in the Family" spin-off "Maude," detailing the trials and tribulations of an African-American family living in the projects on the south side of Chicago. From TV veteran Norman Lear ("All in the Family," "Sanford and Son," and many more hit TV series) and starring Emmy Award-winning actress Esther Rolle and Emmy-nominated actor John Amos, Good Times was that rare hit show which struck a chord with audiences of all colors. Florida Evans (Esther Rolle), her husband James (John Amos), their wisecracking son J.J. (Jimmie Walker, whose "Dy-No-Mite" became a popular 1970's catchphrase), and neighbor and best friend Willona (Ja'net Du Bois) exploited, to great comic effect, subjects such as inflation, unemployment, and bigotry.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

This three-disc collection contains all 24 classic episodes from the third season (1975-1976), when Good Times tackled topical themes from venereal disease to the U.S. Bicentennial and plot points like J.J.'s surprising engagement, Thelma's man troubles, Michael's problems in school, and James buying a gun to protect his family from local crime. The episodes are shown in their actual production order, and not in the original broadcast order. Classic season 3 episodes include "The Family Gun," "Florida's Protest," "Cousin Cleatus," "J.J.'s Fiancee," "Sweet Daddy Williams," "The Investigation," and "J.J. in Trouble." Notable guest stars included: Louis Gossett, Jr. in "Michael's Big Fall"; Nedra Volz in "Florida's Protest"; Debbie Allen (known for her role on "Fame") as Diana in the 2 part episode "J.J.'s Fiancee"; Teddy Wilson making his first appearance in the recurring role of Sweet Daddy Williams; Helen Martin ("227") in "The Investigation" and "The Rent Party"; and and Jay Leno ("The Tonight Show") in "J.J. in Trouble." This was the final season for star John Amos, who was fired from the show. He was informed by phone that he was considered a disruptive factor, and his option would not be picked up for the following season. To explain his absence from the show, his character on Good Times was killed in a car accident in Mississippi, where he had taken a job working as a partner in a garage. Some would say his leaving the show was the moment that Good Times had "jumped the shark". As Florida said "Damn, Damn, Damn!".


Season 3 is similarily designed to the Season 2 Good Times set. The main DVD box slides out from the left of the DVD cover box and has the same cast photo on both covers (see above for the cover art). The back of the outer DVD box gives a brief summary of the show with some highlights of the third season. Opening the DVD set, there is a pocket holder that has a photo of Jimmie Walker. There is a small booklet that contains an episode guide for the season with the episode titles and short summaries. As with other Columbia Tri-Star releases, it would be nice if they would include the original airdate and guest stars for all of the episodes. Also, included in the pocket holder is a brochure that promotes some of Columbia Tri-Stars other past and future dvd releases. John Amos is on the spine of the box.

A new feature for this release is that the discs have actual photos on them. Disc 1 has a photo of Jimmie Walker and episodes 1-8. Disc 2 features BernNadette Stanis and Ralph Carter and episodes 9-16. Disc 3 shows John Amos and Esther Role and has episodes 17-24 on it. The back of the inner DVD box has a nice color photo of John Amos and Esther Rolle with a purple background (did you know that there was a 19 year age difference between Amos and Rolle? - this was similar to The Jeffersons with Sherman Hemsley and Isabelle Sanford).

Good Times - Season 3 DVD Menu

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menu navigation is simple and easy. The same photo that is on the DVD cover box is used on the menu and is shown in a circle with a red border. Good Times is written in large, red bold letters at the top. The menu background is light blue with some hints of purple. There is a Play All Episodes, Episode Selections, and Previews (only on the 1st disc) option. When you select episode selections, there is a small photo from each episode.

Video and Audio Quality:

The video and audio quality is similar to the first 2 releases. There appear to be no major problems, and it's a definite upgrade over VHS. Closed-captioning is available for all of the episodes.

Special Features:

3 previews for Columbia Tri-Star Home Entertainment releases are the only extras on these discs. Classic Comedy TV (1 minute, 30 seconds) promotes releases including All in the Family, The Jeffersons, What's Happening, Sanford and Son, Soap, and Barney Miller. The King of Queens - Season 1 is promoted in a 58 second preview. The third promo is for Original Programming TV (2 minutes, 5 seconds) and shows information on The Tick, The Critic, and Dilbert. Unfortunately, the lack of any extras has been the norm for the previous Good Times releases, but the most important thing is the quality and completeness of the episodes.

Final Comments:

This is another solid release in the Good Times franchise. I look forward to the last 3 seasons being released to complete the series. Hopefully season 4 will be released in the next 6 months followed by season 5 and 6 sometime in 2005. There's no doubt Good Times is one of Columbia Tri-Star's most popular releases. If there were any bonus features like cast interviews, bloopers, or perhaps a history of the show segment - this DVD series would be even more dy-no-mite!

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video quality: 4.2/5
Audio quality: 4.2/5
Special Features NA
Menu Design/Navigation 5/5
Overall: 4.4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 07/19/04

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